Cruise fiends who were willing to fork over a pretty penny to view some of the planet’s most endangered landscapes recently took to the seas for a controversial yet exclusive journey on Crystal Cruises. Passengers sailed through the Northwest Passage, a region where global warming has been wreaking the most havoc on melting icebergs and a once impassable route now able to receive vessels as some of the land has melted away.
From Aug. 16–Sept. 17, the Crystal Serenity cruise ship spent one month traveling from Seward, Alaska, through the Northwest Passage before docking in New York City. The ship was the largest vessel of its kind to sail through this passage in the Arctic, a thoroughfare that connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that has opened thanks to rising global temperatures.
Cruisers paid up to $100,000 for a ticket aboard this maiden voyage, and all guests were obligated to purchase emergency evacuation insurance as well, with a price tag of $44,500. Once on board, guests were able to take part in unique experiences like helicopter rides over glaciers and polar bear sightings.
The voyage has received criticism from some environmentalists who believe the large ship may ruin the rapidly disintegrating natural landscape throughout the Arctic. Despite the controversy, the once-in-a-lifetime cruise made it possible for passengers to view the effects of global warming and possibly encouraged them to get involved in environmental efforts.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.